Lumi.Media and the global ambition of creative tech

James Riley
Editorial Director

Lumi.Media co-founder and chief executive Karen Dewey spent decades working in or managing big teams in television, from news and current affairs to morning TV and the big, fast-moving and quick turnaround productions of reality TV.

It’s not a bad vantage point to come to grips with all the moving parts of production while tending to the nuance of storytelling and the integrity of the narrative.

Lumi is a software platform for the television production industry. It is a software-as-a-service conceived and built in Australia but targeting an global market. It is the single platform that draws together all of the silos of workers that make up big production TV, film and other creative industries.

The company was founded in 2015 by Ms Dewey and her software architect brother Neil Dewey –who is now Lumi’s chief operating officer – and co-founder Stuart Campbell, the company’s chief technology officer.

It is a pioneer among the nation’s fast-growing CreativeTech companies, a burgeoning industry that both supports and springs from Australia’s sophisticated film, television and video games sectors.

In this episode of the Commercial Disco podcast, Karen Dewey talks about the giant leap from a “pretty comfy job” to startup leadership, building a company and in the process creating a new product category.

Lumi software is disrupting creative industries in the classic startup manner. It is a new class of product that enables better productions to be made faster and cheaper. That’s the better, faster, cheaper startup mantra.

The arrival of cloud tech, ubiquitous storage, cheap processing, mobility, wireless, bandwidth all arrived to enable a platform to be applied in big file multimedia production challenges.

It enables visibility over all of the moving pieces in a production – from scheduling (making sure the right people are in the right place at the right time) to the moving around of versions and edits, linking field teams with post-production in a way that provides context.

“I just thought, ‘wow wouldn’t it be great if we could move things through the one system from the moment they were started [in a production]’,” Ms Dewey said.

She began sketching out the idea with her brother Neil. “He came back to me and said you’re on to something.”

“There is nothing out there that does what you’re suggesting and what you’re suggesting is a really good idea and could be applied in all sorts of ways across the board. That’s really where we started.

“I was in a pretty comfy job. But we saw an opportunity to really change the way things are done – to make things better, to make things faster, and to make things cheaper. That’s really where Lumi was born.”

It’s been a wild ride. Lumi has taken money from industry vendors and private investors. The company is chaired by Nuix founder and high-profile startup investor/mentor Eddie Sheehy, which in itself is an indicator.

The company was able to help fund the product build during its pre-revenue phase through a Screen Australia grant, the first and only time that the organisation had funded software. Screen Australia’s remit is not to build startups.

Karen Dewey
Lumi.Media chief executive Karen Dewey

But a platform that could make an industry-wide difference in making Australian productions more globally competitive was enough.

“That was enormous for us in terms of credibility in that they had searched the world and seen that this was innovative and could really streamline our industry,” Ms Dewey said.

As the product was refined, the company brought on six “pioneer partners” also during the pre-revenue phase – these were big production partners like ‘Australia’s Got Talent’ – during which time Lumi was able to attract two separate Accelerating Commercialisation grants.

The company is now well on its way, with commercial customers in Australia and overseas, and clear ambitions for its future.

“We would say our ambition is to become the ubiquitous solution worldwide,” Mr Dewey said.

“We started here in Australia and would be reasonably well known among Australian production houses. Our Australian partners are now helping us to reach out to [customers] in the US, UK and Asia. We have UK customers coming on board now.”

“Global expansion is absolutely where we intend to go from here.”

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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